It’s that Mercury retrograde time of year again, with Mercury retrograde in Libra – the latest in the current series of air sign retrogrades. The air signs have an emphasis in the areas of words, ideas and relationships. They are the connectors of the Zodiac and with Mercury retrograde in Libra our focus over the next few weeks is going to be on relationships of all kinds. So, can we expect relationship glitches caused by a war of words? Maybe. However, this Mercury retrograde could have the effect of making us think more carefully about what we want from our relationships – and that may be a good thing.
We are now in the shadow phase before Mercury hits the reverse gear – and it’s a period when we are reminded that some issues we had put to the back of our minds and tried to forget about have not really been resolved. Things we hoped would go away come back at us demanding a re-think and already we have been hearing echoes of things we maybe hoped would go away – ‘the big lie’ (and every other kind of) conspiracy theorists are out in force once more and rising Covid numbers are making many of us rethink our social contacts.
It’s all stuff we would like to see the back of – but it seems that it’s not done with us yet. Of course, those are macro-level issues, but Mercury to all of us is deeply personal too. Libra is concerned not just with relationships but justice and keeping things balanced. It is the sign of the scales after all. Perhaps in the next few weeks, we will need to reconsider how we can keep our sense of fairness and equilibrium during such uncertain times as events – both public and personal – may knock us off balance for a while.
Mercury Retrograde in Libra: Retrograde Phase
Mercury turns retrograde on September 27th at 05:11 (Universal Time) at 28˚25′ Libra. Even a quick glance at the retrograde chart shows a heavy emphasis on the Air signs, and all of the outer planets, from Jupiter to Pluto, are in retrograde motion too. So, this sense of having to deal (again) with things that don’t yet seem ready to go away appears to be our reality right now.
Though this is a Mercury retrograde chart, Mercury has only two major aspects, a trine to Jupiter retrograde in Aquarius, and a square aspect to Pluto retrograde in Capricorn. Mercury Pluto aspects always indicate some ‘heavy thinking’ is going on – and that Mercury trine to Jupiter? We tend to think of Mercury-Jupiter aspects as funny, easy going and optimistic – so let’s hope there is something in that to lighten the mood.
Mercury’s trine aspect to Jupiter is also connected to a tricky Venus-Uranus retrograde opposition so there may be a few surprises in store – either financially, relationally or both. The chart is, however, dominated by an Air sign grand trine, involving the Sun-Mars conjunction in Libra, Saturn retrograde in Aquarius and the Moon in Gemini. Air sign grand trines are often an indicator that there is a lot of talk – but not much action – so this could be the background noise to this particular Mercury retrograde period. Let’s take a closer look at the aspects.
Mercury Retrograde Trine Jupiter Retrograde
When Mercury Trines Jupiter, it’s usually a sign of good humour. You’re generally tolerant of most things and find it easy to see the big picture. However, this is Mercury retrograde we’re looking at and Jupiter is retrograde too. So, when both planets are heading backwards, it’s a sign that all may not be well – even if it appears to be. It may be easy to gloss over things that require closer examination, so during this Mercury retrograde in Libra, you may need to look again at some of the small print that you may have previously overlooked – particularly where any contractual obligations are concerned. The big picture doesn’t necessarily tell you everything.
The Jupiter end of this Mercury retrograde aspect has a square aspect to Venus opposed by Uranus retrograde in Taurus. Venus likes to indulge – and Jupiter also does things on a grand scale – so if you feel inclined to have a moment of extravagance, Mercury retrograde means you may have to take extra care to ensure that you can really afford to do what you want to do. Uranus in Taurus has real financial overtones and is impulsive. You don’t want to regret buying something that’s really not to your taste, so make use of this Mercury retrograde to take a moment to reconsider and refine your ideas.
And in the wider world? When Mercury is retrograde in Libra and Jupiter is retrograde too, it’s a sign that agreements and treaties that we thought were cut and dried may suddenly be re-opened for negotiation. Jupiter likes to perform on the international stage, but similar themes tend to emerge at the public level just as they do in our private lives. Big promises may fail to live up to our expectations and they may be called out when Mercury retrograde enables us to take a closer look at what was actually said.
Mercury Retrograde Square Pluto Retrograde
Mercury retrograde in Libra also squares Pluto retrograde in Capricorn and this tells us we need to hear the truth – no matter how painful. Some of us may also have a moment of realisation that we need to start thinking about making some drastic changes in our lives if we are to move things forward, as this square takes place in Cardinal signs. This is an aspect of big decision making – and once more, Mercury retrograde means you will need to have all the facts at hand before you make your choice.
This is a great time to do your research, as Pluto will help you to dig deep and get to the bottom of things. However, you may want to delay making your final decision until Mercury moves forwards. It would be too easy for you to make a choice at this time and discover – too late – that it was the wrong move for you. This aspect contacts the Venus-Neptune retrograde trine so you could be fooled into thinking things will be great. They could be – but a little restraint and a hard-nosed approach could be better long term.
The issue with Mercury and Pluto retrograde in square aspect could be summarised as ‘knowledge is power’ and the question arising, while we have Mercury retrograde in Libra, is ‘who has the power?’ At both a personal and wider level, communications may be loaded. Everyone will seem to be working to their own agenda, so it will take some effort to be collaborative and reach agreement. You may have to dig deep to find a form of words that suits both parties.
The Air Grand Trine
The Air ‘Grand Trine’ really places a mental, communicative and thoughtful emphasis on this Mercury retrograde period. This is a good time for planning, discussions and negotiation – and the Mercury retrograde chart shows that a lot of energy is being put out there to do just that. Looking at the planets involved, it’s clear we need our actions (the Sun-Mars conjunction) to be aligned with our instincts (the Moon) in order to make things work (Saturn retrograde).
That’s a concept many of us may need to get our heads around during this period – and though it may be frustrating (Saturn is retrograde) that we not be able to move things forward as quickly as we would like, slowing things down a little may work best in the long run. This is the time to get things in place and make them real when the time is right. It’s always best to get things out in the open and during this period the energy is there to do just that.
Mercury Retrograde in Libra: Direct Phase
Mercury retrograde turns direct on October 18th at 15:17 (Universal Time) at 08˚10′ Libra. When we look at the chart for Mercury’s direct phase (and that will last through the second shadow phase until November 22nd) we can see there is some tension between Mercury and the Moon in Aries, however this may be eased by the sextile aspect from Mercury to Venus in Sagittarius. There is also a trine aspect between Mercury and Saturn – and it is worth noting that Jupiter, Saturn and Pluto are now in forward motion, so let’s hope a few things will be able to move forward with them.
Looking at the chart as a whole, there is a greater fire and cardinal emphasis than there was during the Mercury retrograde period. This suggests that the background to the Mercury direct phase is going to be active – and it’s going to be time to take action. Though not connected to Mercury, there is a tense Sun-Mars conjunction in Libra squared by Pluto in Capricorn – both cardinal signs. This is a real driver in the chart and signifies that momentum for real irrevocable change is not to be ignored. It’s also a potentially violent aspect – so it’s going to be best to work with that explosive energy rather than fight against it.
Set against this backdrop, Mercury’s direct motion is perhaps a sign that we need to take action – but tread carefully – and when we look at Mercury’s aspects in detail, this will show how we will be reacting to the things that we can – and can’t – control.
The Moon Opposite Mercury
A Moon-Mercury opposition always tends to signify a clash between the heart and the head. The things you know to be right may not feel right at an emotional level – and, as the Moon is in Aries, there may be arguments as a result. Inner tension may explode outward. However before you brace yourself for a blazing row, there is the potential, as Mercury retrograde turns direct, for some different outcomes. Those outcomes are related to Mercury’s other aspects in the chart – and as usual in astrology, all things are connected…
Mercury Trine Saturn
I’m breaking with astrological convention here because I’m going to look at the Mercury-Saturn trine first. This is because the Moon also sextiles Saturn, so there is the opportunity for volatile emotions to be steadied and constructive discussions to take place. This is a positive aspect between Mercury and Saturn and engaging realistically with issues (even if they are emotionally charged) would be a good approach. Telling it like it is should be easier at this time. Whether that’s welcome is another thing.
The trine aspect could make it all too easy to take a negative or stubborn view of things and if that is the road taken, emotional frustration could cause things to blow up. As with most things in life, it depends how we handle things – and this is as applicable to the lives of the ‘great and good’ who are in charge of our world, as well as in the more ordinary lives of you and me. Whatever the issues are – and they will be different for all of us – they will need to be resolved. And if heads need to be knocked together? So be it.
Mercury Sextile Venus
If the Moon-Mercury and Saturn connection brings out some verbal ‘tough love’, then the Mercury-Venus sextile provides the opportunity to smooth things over. Venus is in blunt-speaking (but funny) Sagittarius, so now may be the time to reach out, use humour and honesty in your approach, and mend some fences that may have broken down in recent months. This is a positive aspect as it gives you a desire for harmony and togetherness – and whether this approach is successful or not, you can always say that you tried.
The reasons for taking such an approach become more evident when we look at the final aspect Mercury makes in the direct phase chart – an opposition to Chiron, the wounded healer.
Mercury Opposite Chiron
Mercury’s opposition to Chiron (with Chiron also trined by Venus) suggests there is going to be some healing to do at this time. If you’re feeling hurt – or guilty – about something that was said or done in the past, then now is a good time to move on. Acknowledging hurt, or mistakes, is never easy but it can become easier if there is a willingness to move forward from those mistakes and learn some valuable lessons. Learning from our mistakes could be a real theme at this time – but it’s also important to acknowledge that it takes two sides to have an argument and both sides need to engage with the process of making amends.
This takes us back to where we were at the beginning, as we need to remind ourselves that this is about Mercury retrograde in Libra. Perhaps the message of this retrograde – and the sign of Libra – is that it’s all too easy to take sides but much more difficult to come together. Maybe that is what we need to reflect upon during this Mercury retrograde.
© Sara Shipman 2021
Picture credit: Image by Here and now, unfortunately, ends my journey on Pixabay from Pixabay